The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
tension specialists, has been the most successful federal agency model in securing users' adoption of research results, although not everyone shares his viewpoint. He points out that the extension program spends about the same amount on technology transfer that is spent on agricultural research. Most federal agencies apparently spend only about 4 to 5 percent of their research funding on transfer and diffusion activities, which is nowhere near the amount spent in the agricultural extension model. Several government agencies, such as the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program, have tried to copy the agricultural extension model with mixed success. It is clear that dissemination requires a commitment of resources that must be built into the mission of the agency and must be funded.
Promoters and Champions of Technology
Intelligent decision makers and promoters need to exist. It appears that few technologies are ever transferred without a person or groups of people to champion their cause, sometimes over a long period of time (see Box 8-1). This person may be a technology transfer officer, the developer(s), or some other interested party. It is clear that considerable effort and perseverance are needed by this advocate if the technology transfer is to come about. The supporter often is someone who has a vision of what the technology can become. In this respect, champions for technology transfers are like good scientists; they have intuition concerning what technologies should be pushed for transfer and what should be left alone. They may have administrative acumen, and good administrators may know how to cut through red tape and bureaucratic delay. Few experts on technology transfer exist, however, and the field is not systematized. Market research can help, but it is not a complete answer. Consumers do not always know what they need or what they would purchase. Marketing managers in companies regularly launch new products, some of which have gone through extensive marketing surveys, but according to Rogers (1983, p. 74), only 1 of every 540 ideas results in a successful product and only 8 percent of the approximately 6,000 new consumer items introduced each year have a life expectancy of 1 year or longer.
Although intelligence and experience are needed in the technology transfer process, they do not ensure success. Even products or ideas that are clearly superior to those that already exist are not always successful. For example, from an ergonomic viewpoint, the Dvorak keyboard for typewriters and computers is clearly advantageous over the commonly used QWERTY arrangement. Nevertheless, even though a conversion would be technically very simple today